Liam Murray - Higher Education Academy

Developing and implementing
collaborative evaluation approaches
with MOOCs and SLA
Liam Murray, Elaine Riordan, Amanda Whyler, Laura Swilley, Aylar
Vazirabad, Mansour Alammar, Norah Banafi, Vera Carvalho, Yanuar
DwiPrastyo, Geraldine Exton, Ingrid Deloughery, Lisa Cadogan, Sinead
Nash, Qing Miao, Mazin Allyhani and Osama Al-Moughera
University of Limerick, Ireland
Presentation at
“Massive Open Online Courses in the Arts and Humanities:
Opportunities, Challenges and Implications Across UK
Higher Education”, at
University of Central Lancashire in Preston, April 24th, 2014.
• The Evaluation Team and types of MOOCs
• Evaluation Methods
• Common and discrete features of the MOOC
• Pedagogic Implications of MOOCs;
• Analysis and Assessment Issues;
• Results and recommendations on potential for
repurposing and designing for SLA;
• Adding to the current debate.
The Evaluation Team and types of
MOOCs followed
8 PhD students
6 MA students
2 lecturers
Evaluation: was part of their
own module on ICT and
SLA, but participation in
MOOC activity was purely
voluntary and not
Types of MOOCs
- Games programming (X2)
- Academic writing (X3)
- Anatomy
- Gamification (X2)
- Corpus Linguistics (X5)
- Web science: how the
web is changing the world
- How the brain functions.
Our Evaluation Methods
Set tasks: possible to repurpose an existing MOOC
for SLA? Possible to design a dedicated MOOC for
SLA based on their MOOC experiences?
• Iterative and summative
• Qualitative and experiential rather than
• Courses ranged from 3-10 weeks.
Common and discrete features of
the MOOC experiences
• Common features
– Standard and personalised emails at the beginning and end of each
– An introduction and summary each week
– Short lecture-type video recordings (with PPT and transcripts)
– Resources, links and references on weekly topics
– Discussion forums (moderated but not mandatory)
– Weekly quizzes (MCQs)
• Discrete features
– Use of and access to software specific to areas (e.g. Corpus
Linguistics – length of access unknown)
– Anonymous peer feedback on assignments (e.g. Writing)
– Revision and feedback on writing (e.g. Writing)
– Essay writing and analytical activities.
Pedagogic Implications of MOOCs
• Autonomous learning (playing ‘catch-up’)
• Control theory: two control systems—inner
controls and outer controls—work against our
tendencies to deviate. Social bonds & personal
• Motivation theory (both intrinsic and extrinsic
• Connectivism
• Low affective filter
• Anonymous (pros and cons)
• Lurking
• Information seekers Curiosity Learning.
Analysis and Assessment Issues
• Peer evaluation: students not happy with this (cultural issues?
Anxious about the unknown).
• However: “Coursera’s foray into crowd-sourced peerassessment seems to be a useful response to the problem of
the M in Massive”.
• Note: Coursera’s students would be docked 20% of our marks
if refuse to self-evaluate and locked out until we completed
evaluation of 5 others students’ work.
• Self evaluation: perceived as worthwhile
• MCQs: could be completed without reading the material
• Assessment :
• Was complex
• Was dependent on aims: professional development or
learn about a topic
• Needs to be (1) credible and (2) scalable.
Assessing writing in MOOCS
(Balfour, 2013)
• Automated Essay Scoring (AES) Vs Calibrated Peer
Review (CPR)
• AES: good on grammar, syntax, speeling and
“irrelevant segments”.
• AES: bad on complex novel metaphors, humour,
slang and offered “vague feedback”.
• CPR: given a MC rubric; peer review & selfevaluation; receive all feedback from peers
• CPR: Some peer-resistance but improves particular
writing skills; limitations in a MOOC environment.
Balfour’s Conclusions
• For both AES and CPR, the more unique or
creative a piece of work is, then less likelihood
of producing a good evaluation for the
• Same for original research pieces.
• Final conclusion: not every UG course that
uses writing as a form of assessment will
translate to the MOOC format.
Results and recommendations on
potential for repurposing and
designing for SLA
• Pros
– No fees
– Clear Guidelines given
– Ability to work at own
– Well-known academics
delivering material
– Some courses followed
PPP model (implications
for SLA)
– Suitable as tasters
• Cons
– Technical issues
– Not a lot of variety in the
– Discussion forums too
– No chat function
– Personalised support
needed depending on
the field/area
– Not ab initio
Results and recommendations on
potential for repurposing and
designing for SLA
• Recommendations
– Have more variety in interaction patterns (synchronous and
– Have more variety in modes of delivery and presenters/lecturers
– Organise smaller discussion groups
– Offer clear guidelines and instructions
– Stage input and activities
– Offer credits
Adding to the current debate
Maintaining motivation
Financing & monetising the Courses
Weighting (accreditation).
MOOCs to SPOOCs and back to

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